The SA CubeSat Project builds on our experience gained with building and successfully launching various CanSat projects that were based on the reference design of Prof. Twiggs of Stanford University.
The First South African based CubeSat project (SACubed - ZA1), was entirely designed and built using custom hardware.
Due to import restrictions and financial limitations we were not able to source ommercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components. As of 2009, the use of COTS and even pre-assembled sub-systems (such as the Rx/Tx sub-system) has allowed us to allocate more resources to application development, testing and simulations.
Building a CubeSat is certainly not as easy as it sounds, and even now after a number of years of researching, building, revising subsystems and writing software code it remains a challenge. And we have yet to launch a Satelite!
The original and primary goal of our Projects has always been to further research into and provide hands-on Space Education and opportunities for low-cost space access.
The purpose of this site is then also to provide team members with a central repository for Information sharing.
CubeSat developers continue to advocated many cost-saving mechanisms, such as:
- A reduction in project management and quality assurance roles
- Use of students with expert oversight to design, build and test key subsystems
- Reliance on non-space rated Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components
- Limited or no built-in redundancy (often compensated for by the parallel development of CubeSats)
- Access to launch opportunities through standardised launch interfaces
- Use of amateur communication frequency bands and support from amateur ground stations
- Simplicity in design, architecture and objective
In short, launching a CubeSat involves the following:
- Build a Satellite (CubeSat)
- Obtain Authorization
- Negotiate a launch vehicle
- Recover / Terminate
Some of the goals of our team include:
- Establish a South African CubeSat Project
- Design and test a cubesat sized satellite that's build from 100% commercial components (COTS)
- Modularize the satellite modules for re-usabilities and easy testings
- Use or contribute towards an open source platform for nano satellites
- Knowledge sharing